Depression/Mental Health Forum
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Effexor/Depression Question

About 4 years ago I was diagnosed with Major Depression and after trying Celexa, Paxil, Wellbutrin and some others I was put on Effexor. Effexor was the one that seemed to do the trick and pull me out of that dark abyss. About a month ago I talked to my doctor about finally coming off it and she had me reduce it 75mg every two weeks. When I got to 150mg (half way point) I felt terrible. Physical sympotms weren't as bad as I had heard they could be, but the depression came back. And anxiety as well with terrible panic! I felt just like I had 4 years earlier, which was scary! I had totally forgotten how that even felt since it had been so long!! I went back up to 225mg and just after a few days I started feeling better. Do think maybe she had me coming off too fast? Or am I going to be stuck on this medication forever? Thank you!
Oh and is it so bad to be on it this long??? I am just scared I have to have to live. Thank you.
12 Responses
242532 tn?1269550379
The reduction rate sounds right and I wouldn't expect the kind of reaction you had until the dose was even much lower. I suggest that you look into psychotherapy to understand the depression better, and when you are at that point, try lowering the medication level.
Avatar universal
Why do you want to come off a medication that seems to be working great for you?  I know that I have felt like I should be able to function without medication but have decided that if one pill a day is going to keep me sane and happy (when I find the right one and dose) then I will take it for the rest of my life if I have to.  I would ask your doctor or do an internet search on long terms effects of Effexor.  If they are minimal or none at all then if it were me I'd just keep taking them.

Not a doctor and hope this isn't bad advice but that's what I would do.  You are lucky you have found the right medication and dosage.  It's been five years for me and I still haven't
Avatar universal

  Information about effexor and many other new and old ssri meds can be found at a new site soon to be called theocdsite.  http://www.findbusinessproductsnetwork.com/obsessive.html Apparently they are using part of this site for now. Also yahoo kenfbpn keyword will bypass other part of site. I searched last week for information effexor, I take it now, and found this new section and they have several pages of ocd material. I wrote them and they said anyone can help people with ocd if would post their individual story, like successes or dealing with ocd that kind of stuff which would be what the site is mostly about. Ken said site is free and self supported and existed for about maybe four weeks now.
Avatar universal
Hi everyone, I've been on Effexor for over two years and concerned about the long term affects. I've tried to wean myself off by skipping a day etc but found that after about 4 weeks I'd have the need to go back to one a day. I hate the thought that I have to rely on this medicine every day for the rest of my life and refuse to give in to it but my main question now is - what is this stuff doing to me long term?

Avatar universal
I found a thread on this discussion board through a search engine about intense daydreaming.  The thread was closed to new comments.  

I just wanted to add that I was on Effexor for over a year and when I quit my job, I lost my medical insurance and decided to go off Effexor.  I loved what Effexor did for me, but I thought maybe it had helped me get past some difficult times in my life and that I could function without it.  

I've been off Effexor for four months now and I am almost at a point of not functioning in my normal daily activities.  I guess sometimes when we are not faced with symptoms on a daily basis, we forget the problems we had.  If a medication works for you and you can afford it, I would stick with it.

Good luck.
Avatar universal
Supposedly this drug like Paxil is difficult to wean off from.  Dr.s generally tell you to taper much faster than is comfortable with these drugs (think about it, what do they know personally about coming off these drugs?  Do they really expect it to be easier on you than it was to get on them in the first place?)  My rule of thumb is to reduce by 10 to 20% for at least a week to make sure you are stabilized before you reduce further. When you're at 33% wait at least 2 weeks and probably more between reductions. But Effexor can be tricky because it is timed release.  For information and support with tapering, I recommend paxilprogress.org and I have heard this site is good too: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Withdrawal_and_Recovery/

Best of luck
Avatar universal
Hi Everyone

I yesterday took 1 tablette of Effexor XR 75 mg. EVerything was ok until i start feeling that something is pushing me in my throat, like i want to vomit.  It happened 3 hours after i took the medicine. Finally I went to bathroom and made myself to vomit (with fingers).  I think thta Errexor is too much for me. DO YOU THINK I CAN FACE WITHDROWAL EFFECT AFTER JUST 1 PILL OF EFEXOR XR if i stop using it?  

Today I cannot eat anything.  I have problwm with chewing and swallowing,  or maybe i just don't have appetite. something still pushing in my throat

Hope for your advise

Thank you in advance

Avatar universal
There is no scientific reason for anyone diagnosed with depression to be given psychiatric drugs for it as there is no proven link between depression and brain chemistry to date. -

      Selected quotations regarding Serotonin and Antidepressants

"Although it is often stated with great confidence that depressed people have a Serotonin or Norepinephrine deficiency,the evidence actually contradicts these claims"

Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience Elliot Valenstein,in "Blaming The Brain" (1998) which reviews the evidence for the serotonin hypothesis

"Given the ubiquity of a neurotransmitter such as Serotonin and the multiplicity of its functions, it is almost as meaningless to implicate it in depression as it is to implicate blood"

Science writer John Horgan, in his critical examination of modern neuroscience,The Undiscovered Mind (1999)

"A serotonin deficiency for depression has not been found" Psychiatrist Joseph Glenmullen,clinical instructor of psychiatry at Harvard medical school in "Prozac Backlash" (2000)

"So far there is no clear and convincing evidence that monoamine deficiency accounts for depression that is, there is no "real" monoamine deficit."

Psychiatrist Stephen M Stahl,in a textbook used to teach medical students about psychiatric medications "Essential Psychopharmology" (2000)

Some have argued that depression may be due to a deficiency of NE (Norepinephrine) or 5HT (serotonin) because the enhancement of noradrenergic or serotonergic neurotransmission improves the symptoms of depression.However this is akin to saying that because a small rash on ones arm improves with the use of a steroid cream,the rash must  be due to steroid deficiency."

Psychaitrist Pedro Delgado and Franciso Moreno in "Role Of Norepinephrine In Depression" published in the Journal Of Clinical Psychiatry in 2000

"I wrote that Prozac was no more.and perhaps less effective in treating major depression than prior medications....I argued that the theories of brain functioning that led to the development of Prozac must be wrong or incomplete"

Brown University psychiatrist Peter Kramer,author of "Listening To Prozac" which is often credited for popularizing SSRI`s, in a clarifying letter to the New York Times in 2002.

"I spent the first several years of my career doing full time research on brain serotonin metabolism,but i never saw any convincing evidence that any psychiatric disorder,including depression,results from a deficiency of brain serotonin.In fact we cannot measure brain serotonin levels in living human beings so there is no way to test this theory.Some neuroscientists would question whether the theory is even viable,since the brain does not function in this way,as a hydraulic system"

Stanford psychiatrist Dave Burns ,winner of  the A.E. Bennett award given by the Society for Biological Psychiatry for his research on serotonin metabolism,when asked about the scientific status of serotonin theory in 2003.

"Indeed no abnormality of Serotonin in depression has ever been demonstrated"

Psychiatrist David Healy former secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmocology and historian of the SSRI`s in "Let Them Eat Prozac" 2004

"We have hunted for big simple neurochemical explanations for psychiatric disorders and have not found them"

"Psychiatrist Kennith Kendler the coeditor in-chief of "Psychological Medicine"  in a 2005 review article.

Avatar universal
My husband died 2 years ago and I went through a serious stage of depression.  One and half years after his death  I decided I needed help - I couldn't talk about my husband without crying. I couldn't go grocery shopping without balling in the fruit section (my husband loved fruit).  I could start a fight in an empty room, I was so bad.  After a year and a half I asked for help and my doctor put me on Effexor.  Initially the drug did "cut the edge" of my anxiety and depression, but the side effects resulted in weight gain, fatigue, sleeping long hours,  brain zits (electric jolts which caused dizziness), and constipation (which I never had in my life).  I remained on the drug for 9 months and decided to get off because I was tired of being "tired" and brain foggy.  I made the mistake of going cold turkey and man did the wierd dreams and and brain jolts go crazy.  I told my Doctor what I did and he informed me I had to decrease the dosage gradually.  I dropped from 300 mg to 150 mgs after my doctor visit for about 2 weeks.  Then 75 mg for 2 weeks, and finally 37 1/2 the last week.  In all it was about 6 weeks.  I feel less tired and occassionally I have small brain zits, but my dreams/nightmares have decreased and I'm sleeping normal hours (about 6 hrs)  I've been free from the Effexor about 1 week now and the only symptom I have now is diarreah.  I can only assume my bowels are returning to normal, but I never had diarreah problems before taking Effexor.  I'm hoping this will 'normal up'.  If I had to do over again, I don't think I should have stayed on the medication as long.  Nine months doesn't sound long compared to the other messages I read, but I definitely DON'T like the brain zaps, wierd dreams and the fatigue.  My experience with this antidepressant (and this is the only time I've used an antidepressant) was ok for the first 5 months, but if I knew the side effects, I probably would have had second thoughts about any long term use.  I'm waiting for the brain zaps to stop....
Avatar universal
what is http://nbz334efexorxr.proboards67.com/   ?

Also, please remove/inactivate my name and password from your website.  Thanks
Avatar universal
I'm thinking of coming off my Effexor on my own or with a different doctor.  My doctor won't let me off it.  I want to work with a doctor who will work with me.  I like to be an integral part of the process of treatment and have a lot of dialogue.  Basically, I don't want to be muzzled like a horse.  The Wellbutrin, I found out after years of use, was making me combative and sleep all day.  I used to just sleep all day, so being combative wasn't a problem.  I have fibromyalgia, so doctors told me it was normal to sleep all the day with fibromyalgia.  Once I got my bedtimes screwed up and thus my morning meds taken at different times, I noticed I got combative and grouchy when the Wellbutrin was peaking & very tired and droopy like a noodle.  When I tried to follow a schedule as per my counselor's instructions, the combativeness became a problem, because I was trying to press on through my day though sleepy and combative.  I got into altrications and cracked up my car a couple of times.  Finally, I figured out it was the Wellbutrin.  Once the psych. (aka Her Most Royal Highness) allowed me off the Wellbutrin, and told me to stop using the cold pills I was using to sleep at night, replacing them with Klonopin (THank you God, Thank you God) -- I finally was able to sleep through the whole night.  And now I feel normal.  At the same time, she wanted me to take Lithium in the mornings for my PMDD -- turning into a nasty witch during PMS is what PMDD is.  The three other changes seemed to take care of the mood swings during PMS, and the Lithium introduced a whole slew of new problems -- incontinence (had already a touch with fibromyalgia when really exhausted & with side effect of Prilosec) -- now the incontinence was horrible, just gushing out at random times; had to wear Depends.  My depression got much worse with the Lithim, I sat around all day and peed on myself crying.  I had no motivation, noting seemed interesting, I had a rash and acne on my face with the Lithium, my eyes hurt so bad & I had a fever.  My eyes felt like they were baking in my head.  My hands trembled when the Lithium peaked, my ears rung, I sweat so bad I couldn't put on makeup; it looked like I just jumped out of the pool.  I told her beforehand I could never handle the heat, was always a sweat-er (Nordic blood), and my other meds already made me a sweaty pig plus perimenopause, but she keeps putting me on things that have adverse skin reactions -- I told her my skin is very sensitive, I have bad allergies and get rashes and burns easily -- she keeps giving me things that affect my skin and make me sweat more.  And giving me things that add to my incontinence.  Is she dense?  And you can't disagree or have any input or have a comment or question.  You have to keep your mouth shut and take all the **** she says you have to.  It's like Nazi Germany.  I don't know what's more depressing -- the depression or having horrible drugs shoved down my throat against my will with side effects that are obviously going to exacerbate pre-existing conditions.  My husband is behind me finding another doctor.  He doesn't want a wife who gains more and more weight -- a side effect of Lithium -- while sitting around crying and peeing on herself all day.  I had to politely call and give the side effects and ask if she wanted me to keep taking it.  How idiotic.  Because if I don't paste a smile on my face and act like every thing she makes me do is honey and roses, she threatens to kick me out and "refer" me to other doctors.  I was shocked the first time she said this.  Now, I'm already looking around.  This is ridiculous.  I don't trust her as far as I can throw her.  Anyone who makes me take things and won't let me talk about it or ask questions or look for alternatives to things that make me gain weight is not someone who gains my trust.  I mean, can you relate?
Avatar universal
rasberry i feel for you. once i had a pschychiatrist (sp) that got uspet with me for not talking about what HE wanted to talk about canc. my prescription and i had to go cold turkey. i fee for you i have dealt with depression for most of my 34 years. i took effexor it worked great. my dr made me walk walk walk. after getting to the max 300mg he put me on wellbutrin too. made my blood pressure go up which he didnt believe me. i know our situations are different i am just saying i empathize with you and yes if you find the "right" dr they will get to the bottom of your medication mayhem. good luck to you and i hope your life becomes more and more on the up and up. when i decided to quit the effexor the brain zaps were so bad i thought id lose my mind. i went to whole foods (an organic grocery here in califoria)i got some all natural "pills" to help me come off and they did the trick. i wish all the best to you and your situation!
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